Jim and Darla Snipe
I can remember as a small boy walking with my father in the rice fields of Northern California while he was hunting pheasants. I was soon spending much of my time hunting and fishing, activities that were to have a big influence on my life.
After graduating from high school in 1964, I left California to study at the University of Idaho with a dream to pursue a career in agriculture. Since I went to church often as a small child and occasionally as a youth I thought I should find a church to attend while at university. I found a church and was soon baptized, confirmed and religious. However, there was no change in my life. The only difference was I went to church on Sunday.
During my senior year of university I met Darla and we were married the following summer in August of 1968. We moved to Canada the day after we were married because I had received a graduate fellowship at the University of Alberta. I thought all my desires to hunt, fish and pursue a career in agriculture would be met in the wide-open spaces of Alberta.
One year later we were living in Magrath, a small farming community south of Lethbridge, Alberta. I worked for two years at the University of Lethbridge and completed my masterfs thesis on the gEconomics of Hunting and Fishing Activity in Southern Alberta.h During our second year in Magrath our first son, Shane, was born.
One day while washing clothes at a local coin laundry I met three young people. They asked me if I knew Jesus. I had never been asked that question before, not even in confirmation class. I could not answer their question so I suggested they see my wife. They were soon at our home talking to her about Jesus. She was crying before they left because their discussion about Jesus brought tears to her eyes. However, she was afraid I would not approve if she became actively involved in church. I had quit attending church soon after we were married.
We moved to a farm in central Alberta and began raising pheasants and operating a hunting club. During the beginning of our third year on the farm our second son, Jay, was born. The business was soon succeeding much better than our marriage. My wife had a tremendous desire to change me. She had become a hunter and fishermanfs widow. I did not really know how to give my wife and two sons the love that they needed. I was often unaware of other peoplefs feeling and the hurts that my actions caused them. I was influenced by other peoplefs activities and success. Often my wife would be left to pick and clean the hunterfs birds while I was having a drink or two with the hunters.
Help came from an unexpected source. We received a Canadian Bible Society new testament at our Canadian citizenship ceremony in July of 1975. Even though we had several bibles already I thought it was good that we were given another bible. My grandmother had given every member of our family a bible, but I had never read one. Little did I know at the time that this bible was going to be Godfs instrument to bring new joy and purpose into our lives. My wife knew that we needed help and she thought the bible had some answers to our problems. As she read the bible she learned that Jesus died on the cross for her sins and that by believing in Jesus Christ he would become her personal savior. Thus, she became a Christian and people soon began to notice a change in her as Jesus began to work in her life. Even I could see that this greligionh was good for her, but I did not think that I needed it. However, she began to pray for me to become a Christian.
Several bible verses gave her encouragement that there was hope for our marriage, particularly 1 Peter 3 (NIV) gWives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.h My wife knew she was never going to win me over to Christianity with words.
My wife and two sons began attending church. However, her eyesight soon became so bad that she was no longer able to drive to church. I was soon driving the family to church. God began to get my attention. Books began to gappearh in the house that helped to answer questions that were on my mind. I was particularly interested in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. After reading the facts about Jesusf resurrection from the grave it became a reality for me and I knew it was true. On Palm Sunday, 1981, I surprised my wife by going up with her to the front of the church to receive communion. While I was on my knees at the altar I asked Jesus to forgive my sins and change my life. My wife had been praying as she sat next to me in church that I would become a Christian that day. However, because of pride I did not tell her for about 10 days that I was a Christian. When I finally told her she was very happy. For us the next year was better than our honeymoon. God had given me a new love for my wife and sons.
My conversion had a big influence on our family life. Within a few months after I became a Christian both of our sons became Christians. My wife certainly had joy in her life now. However, she soon learned that God had more for her. At a Christian rally she received prayer for a drinking problem. Then she was baptized in the Holy Spirit and began to speak in a language that she had never learned. She was very excited when she came home. I did not even know there was a Holy Spirit baptism. I was wondering what was going to happen to my wife next. I did not have long to wait. Instead of being shy and insecure she became bold and confident. Soon I was also baptized in the Holy Spirit. She also gained victory over alcohol.
After receiving a Full Gospel Businessmenfs gVoiceh magazine from a friend we soon attended a Full Gospel Businessmenfs Banquet at a nearby chapter. It was exciting to hear how Jesus is changing lives today. A few months later at another banquet my wifefs eyes were healed of a number of problems including a glazyh eye. She was able to drive the next day. The miracle greatly encouraged our familyfs faith in God.
Several months after I became a Christian we started Lakeland Poultry Processors. Six months later we were in severe financial difficulty. I became very depressed after talking with my banker in early February of 1982. Our situation looked hopeless to me. My wife suggested we pray for the business. As a new Christian I did not even know that you could pray for a business. That evening we prayed from our hearts about the business and decided to make Jesus gLordh of Lakeland Poultry Processors. From that time on we would try as much as possible to run the business for God. I made a commitment to pray and read the bible every day. The bible would become my guide for operating Lakeland Poultry Processors.
The morning after we prayed for the business we received an unexpected financial blessing. I had a hard time believing that our prayers were answered so quickly. However, my wife assured me we that our prayers had been answered! The government informed us that we would receive a grant at the end of the month that we were not expecting for several months at the earliest. A number of other factors that were against our business turned in our favor and we were soon making a profit. My decision to pray and read the bible every day proved to be of tremendous value in drawing me closer to God. We began to operate the business using biblical principles. As we put God first it was easy to say gnoh when we were tempted to be dishonest. Lakeland Poultry Processors continued to prosper and we were soon supplying six Kentucky Fried Chicken stores and numerous other businesses such as supermarkets and restaurants with chicken.
In April of 1986, my wife and I went to Japan for the first time. I believed that God wanted us to go to Japan, but I did not know why. The first morning after arriving in Tokyo I awoke very early and saw Mt. Fuji from our hotel room window. As I looked out over Tokyo I started thinking about the fact that 99 percent of the people in Japan do not believe in Jesus Christ and have any hope of eternal life. I began to weep as God put a burden on my heart for the nation of Japan. My wife was soon weeping also even though I did not speak to her. Our hotel room was filled with the presence of God. I felt as if Jesus were weeping through me for the nation of Japan. I could easily relate to the bible verse in the 19th Chapter of Luke that speaks about Jesus weeping for Jerusalem.
In our second trip to Japan in January 1987, God called me during a prayer meeting in Tokyo to be a missionary in Japan. I was certain that God had spoken to me and I knew we would be moving to Japan. I did not even think about not answering Godfs call. However, I was soon weeping as I realized what Godfs call meant to us. I knew that we would be leaving family, friends, businesses, etc. We had lived in Canada for almost 20 years and had a very comfortable life there as we were living on a very large farm in a beautiful home that we had built. I was surprised and pleased to hear that God had also called my wife to be a missionary in Japan! We soon learned that God had told another person the day before that we would be called as missionaries to Japan.
After returning to Canada we began studying Japanese and preparing to answer Godfs call to Japan. About 18 months later God told me to sell the poultry business. During the same weekend God also told my wife that we should sell the poultry business. However, my wife asked God to have me speak to her about selling the business so I would not think that it was her idea. A couple days later I spoke to her and said God wanted us to sell the poultry business. We did not tell anybody at the time. About a week later a Christian friend told us God wanted us to sell the business. We sold it!
On July 30, 1989, with our youngest son and six suitcases we departed from Canada for Osaka Japan. We did not know where we would be working as missionaries, but believed it would be in the Osaka area. We were surprised to be greeted by more than 20 members of The Good Samaritan Church at the airport. We had first visited this church on our last day of our first trip to Japan. Pastor Aoki, the churchfs pastor, had helped us to get our missionary visas and find temporary accommodation before our arrival in Japan. Although we never thought we would be missionaries at The Good Samaritan Church we have been missionaries with the church since September of 1989.
We believe that God has confirmed our call to Japan many times since we became missionaries. Our sons do not live with us now, but both spent a number of years in Japan and quickly learned the language. They both have Japanese wives and are living in the United States. The Good Samaritan church was started in December of 1984, and continues to grow. There are now over 200 members at the home church that was built in 1992. In addition there are a number of branch churches. We were called by God to plant a branch church, the Sumoto Chapel, on Awaji Island in 1999.
1268-1 Kanaya Sumoto-shi,Hyogo